Why Use Technology in the Classroom? Why did we use film and video when they were first made available to us, or for that matter computers? Can we remember what it was like to teach before photocopiers? Technology enriches our instruction and provides a plethora of assessment tools. It enables our learners to create and produce in new and exciting ways and streamlines our instruction. What’s more it can maximize student-teacher contact time allowing the teacher to address the varied needs of the learners in the classroom. Pedagogical, technology has emerged intergral in two instructional models: blended instruction and the flipped classroom. To find out more about these read on!
1. Blended Instruction – Blended Instruction allows teachers to expand the walls of their classroom by extending instruction outside of class in virtual environments. In other words, blended instruction combines on-line and off-line activities. Unlike pure online opportunities, the blended instructional approach reduces student isolation by utilizing face to face instruction to address critical concepts or struggles and challenges faced by the student. Blended instructional approaches contain structured and unstructured components, support an environment in which students can learn small ideas and work their way toward more complex ideas, allows students to learn formally and informally, provides technological support for students. Their numerous benefits to blended instructional approaches including engagement, accommodation of students absent for long periods of time, allowing additional support of time for students unable to complete curriculum in traditional time bound face to face formats. The goal is to take the best aspects of face to face instruction and combine them with the best aspects of online instruction.
2. The Flipped Classroom – The flipped classroom takes the traditional role of the teacher as the lecturer and instructor during class time and role of the student as note taker during class time and reverses the roles. The instruction is done outside of class, typically via videos and screencasts accessed on the students time outside of class. They determine the pace and rate at which they cover the material. Class time is used to discuss the ideas, issues and challenges. The teacher essentially functions as the tutor and evaluator during the class time. Such resources as Kahn Academy have been used by millions of math and science teachers who have finally freed up class time to work with student on their questions and eliminating the need for tutors. Of course, in order for this to be successful students do need to be able to access internet from home or outside of class time in the available school labs. To find out more about the flipped classroom take a look at the Wired Kahn Academy interview and how Aaron Sams uses it to teach his high school chemistry class:
For more information on flipped classrooms take a look at following blog posts: “The Flipped Classroom Model – A Full Picture” and “How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Education